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Poster: light into ashes Date: Dec 24, 2012 7:42pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: 1974 Garcia Interview

I've been plugging away at my Dead Sources site - just added an interesting interview which perhaps some of you haven't seen:

A few excerpts:

Garcia on success - "Basically, success sucks. And all the other crap that goes along with it. We've unconsciously come to the end of what you can do in America, how far you can succeed. And it's nothing, it's nowhere. It means billions of cops and people busted at your gigs. It means high prices and hassling over extra-musical stuff... There isn't anything for us to get off on. We're removed from the audience, we're removed from what we're doing and it just is a drag."

Garcia on Dead shows - "We're playing every other night in a different room. For every gig there's the same series of adjustments, and it doesn't give us a chance to get past a certain point. The first half we're trying to psych out the room, we're trying to understand what's happening acoustically, which is purely mechanics. By the second half we're starting to develop a sound in the room, and that's the first step towards getting off into decent improvisation, which is where you can hear everybody clearly and any new idea has potential weight....
The thing that happens when we play in a place more than one night is that it gets subtler and more articulate, and that's the kind of thing that lets you go into new realms. When we went to Europe this last time we got into some new directions in improvisation which have been the opening of new, fertile ground. But even so, it would be too easy for us to keep on doing what we've been doing."

Garcia on songwriting - "To me, just because of default, I've fallen into the role of being the main writer in the band. And I'm not really a writer, I'm not really a composer. I'm not even really a singer, you know? But these are roles, and since the band has needed them I've fallen into them, just like we all have. But it's been on me to be the guy who's developing the material. And frankly, I'm tired of my own writing, I'm bored with it. Since it's sort of an artificial situation, I'm not an inspired writer. It represents work. I would rather let it happen, in terms of my own creativity, without the pressure of having to deliver a certain amount of material."

Garcia on Dead albums - "I don't think we've pulled it off too good, mainly because the format is just fucked up. Eighteen minutes to a side is not an accurate representation of what we do."

Garcia on record-pressing - "The making of records is an amazing bummer. It's a sweatshop situation, one of the worst. It turns out to be this horrible scene - you wouldn't want to support it if you understood how it works. In a pressing plant there will be a dozen people in a poorly ventilated, miserable place with hot vinyl fumes - the most monotonous, mindless kind of work and it's an awful situation in which to work. I really object to it."

Garcia on the future of records - "We're trying to finance the development of holographically storing audio information and avoiding discs and all the waste of petroleum-based products. And storing all of the Grateful Dead's recorded past with none of the kind of things that you have with grooves - no wear, no surface noise, because it would be a light-scanning thing. Consequently it would be pretty hip ecologically."

Garcia on John McLaughlin - "I don't really like Mahavishnu. I don't like John McLaughlin's playing. It's too stiff. Technically, I admire it - he can do things that are difficult to do, his execution is remarkable. But the way it ends up sounding is nervous and agitated rather than energetic. And also I like music that has more beauty to it and more soulfulness."

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Poster: Jack o' Roses Date: Dec 25, 2012 10:49am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: 1974 Garcia Interview

Thanks as always, lia; Happy Holidays to you & yours.

Holographic(3-D) storage is still sorta in the future, but a 3-D-equivalent in multiplexing communications has really changed to world...

...& "no grooves to wear, no surface noise" is a thing of today.
Thank God for simple (& complex) miracles...

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Poster: Diamondhead Date: Dec 24, 2012 8:58pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: 1974 Garcia Interview

Thanks for a great read for an xmas eve.

I find it interesting that JG is complaining about not liking song writing. He really meant it. By this time period, he had probably composed 98% of his wonderful songs; he did pretty much stop.

I agree with his assessment of McLaughlin. I remember at the time that a lot of jazz musicians wanted to be rock stars too and really ramped it up. And coming from a jazz background I bought into it because it felt somehow intellectually heavier, but I ended up feeling the same way as Jerry. But boy I saw a bunch: from Weather Report to Jan Hammer to Return to Forever to Al DiMeola etc.

And last: "My fantasy is eventually for us to build a permanent place to perform in that would be like a whole theater. It would be small and tasty and it would have a permanent set-up."

Ahead of his time again. Think of Branson Mo. and all the in-residence shows in Las Vegas. Think of all the pilgrimages we could have made. :)

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Poster: reviewr Date: Dec 28, 2012 9:14pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: 1974 Garcia Interview

A couple things really get my attention:

Garcia on Dead shows - I would have happily traveled to see them in a place they set up as home (San Fran. I imagine). Similar to the way some acts call Los Vegas or Branson home.

Garcia on the future of records - What would he think of the iPod generation, and the ability to stream or download his music from sites like this?

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Poster: elbow1126 Date: Dec 28, 2012 9:57am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: 1974 Garcia Interview

I find the comment about playing in the same place more than one night results in the subtler and more articulate (playing/jams) to be kind of curious. They had played two 3 night runs at Winterland during 12 months prior to this interview and while I would argue that the last night of each of these runs were the best performances, i am not sure it was because they did more improvising during 11-11-73 or 2-24-74 than they did the prior nights. This might be true in '73 as the first night did not have a lot of jamming but 11-10 did have that big PITB sandwich. However the '74 run had a lot of jamming the first two nights including several Slipknot! improvs. The last night of both runs did have a great Dark Star but i don't think thats what solely made those shows the best of the run. I guess one could interpret this to mean that Dark Star was the jam vehicle for allowing the band to enter those new realms, once they were in tune with the building.

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Poster: light into ashes Date: Dec 28, 2012 10:24am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: 1974 Garcia Interview

I found it a curious comment too. If Garcia's perception was right, then Winterland should've had all the best shows, since they played there the most often.
His comment is true about the short Europe '74 tour (where practically anything would've been an improvement over 9/9 or 9/20). Most US places in '74, they only played once - the other exceptions being Miami & Philadelphia. Most of the few Dark Stars that year were played on the 2nd or 3rd nights at a venue, though that may not mean anything.
I don't think Garcia's really accurate here, unless you want to interpret all the one-stop shows of '74 as just being warmups! (Maybe he perceived them that way.)

It does indicate the kind of situation he preferred, though - notice that when the Dead returned in '76, the theaters they played in June/July were all multi-night runs, which I think is due to the Dead's preferences as much as their increased popularity. (Though they went back to more 'regular' touring in the fall.)

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Poster: Reade Date: Dec 26, 2012 10:23am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: 1974 Garcia Interview

I've never herd officially stated any reason for the Dead layoff from Oct '74 till June '76 related to their music. That others needed time to catch up to Garcia and Lesh? Wow.

While there's some great listens from '74, the second sets in general to me are clearly not as musically interesting as say the Fall of '72. That the band, or at least Garcia, was publicly recognizing that fact at the time is amazing to me.

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Poster: light into ashes Date: Dec 26, 2012 11:06am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: 1974 Garcia Interview

I noticed that the interviewer sounds rather hostile to the Dead, so it's he, not Garcia, who's saying that the Dead have been stagnating and lacking in musical growth & musicianship... (One of Garcia's habits is that he'd rarely contradict an interviewer.)
Garcia's point is merely that he feels the bandmembers should "spend more time developing ourselves musically, which is one of the reasons for taking a break," so that could feed into the band's music.
Blues for Allah was a direct result of that - having the band come up with new material in the studio, rather than having Garcia bring in a bunch of songs as they'd been doing (and Garcia is rather sick of).

Overall, it's clear that the main reason for the layoff is not so much musical, but the burden of playing stadiums & lugging around the Wall of Sound, and feeling locked in an economic wheel that was going nowhere & making the shows more unpleasant.

What really struck me was when he says, "When we went to Europe this last time we got into some new directions in improvisation which have been the opening of new, fertile ground." He specifically links that to, "when we play in a place more than one night, it gets subtler and more articulate, and that's the kind of thing that lets you go into new realms."
Notice - he's talking about Europe '74! Not a tour acclaimed for its groundbreaking jams.
I believe he has to be thinking of the jams with Ned Lagin on 9/11 and 9/21 (the 3rd and 2nd nights at those theaters). Those did open the ground for similar jams at Winterland on 10/16 and 10/18.
So this is a very rare example of a bandmember reflecting on the musical highpoints of a particular tour, right after the fact, plus we get to see the seeds of the thinking that led to their next album.

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Poster: jerlouvis Date: Dec 26, 2012 7:06pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: 1974 Garcia Interview

I also found the reference to the 74' Europe shows particularly interesting.It is a much maligned tour,and while it might not meet August 74' standards it is every bit as good as the ballyhooed Winterland retirement shows the following month.

As for the jammier part of the repertoire the shows were well represented.

9/9- A good Playin' and a nice 6 minute jam out of Truckin'.

9/10- A good Let it Grow,a great Dark Star -> hot 7 minute jam.Kreutzman had a great night.

9/14-A good Let it Grow,decent 19 minute Truckin' with a MLB jam,and a good Eyes.

9/11- Good Playin' and 18 minute Eyes ->nice Stronger Than Dirt jam ->good 8 minute space.

9/18- A very strong show featuring an extraordinary Playin' and a killer 10 minute Caution jam.

9/20-An awful show.

9/21-Good 17 minute Eyes,a killer Seastones with Jerry -> a strong 18 minute Playin' with Ned.

So I can see where Jerry heard some interesting ideas.Considering the somewhat burnt out state of the band,all in all this tour wasn't an abject failure.

On another note LIA,those reviews of the Garcia/Saunders Boston 75' shows were a good read.It's funny to see a line like "back in the days of the Dead" written in November 75',as if the band were finished.Also a couple of nice insights into the bands stage demeanor and set up with Fiero in the middle,just little things like that.You are doing a great job with both the Deadsources and Deadessays sites,and your efforts are appreciated.

This post was modified by jerlouvis on 2012-12-27 03:06:41

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Poster: light into ashes Date: Dec 26, 2012 8:28pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: 1974 Garcia Interview

We know the band listened to tapes of the Europe tour before playing the Winterland shows.
Some nights were especially poor - like 9/20 was dreadful, and the whole band was distressed with 9/9.

Ned Lagin told the story of the tour to Gans, and mentioned that on "the first night (9/9), the Dead played for a very short period of time, starting late and ending early, because there wasn't the right power equipment. It was really a very frustrating experience for the band...
The second night (9/10) was somewhat longer, and a little better, but everyone was deeply upset about what was going on in terms of preparation... [They were upset enough to have a meeting in which everyone flushed their cocaine.]
For the third show (9/11), it was generally agreed that we would all take LSD, to recoup the good old Grateful Dead. Keith was dosed... [That] was a real high point in my playing with the Dead, one of those times when we were really enjoying each other's musical presence and playing off it. Eyes of the World turned out to be really a great performance. Some people from Pink Floyd and from Apple Records were there to hear what we were doing with computers and electronics..."
From Munich 9/14, Ned mainly just remembers the audience whistling during Seastones.
Of the Dijon 9/18 show, he says "it was a very nice acoustic space, and the audience there was very appreciate and spiritual." He also remembers playing a whole soundcheck set there with the band, with him on electric piano, "one of the better afternoon sets." (Though our soundcheck snippet from that date doesn't seem to reflect that.)
He missed the first Paris show on 9/20, so nothing to say about that.
Then on 9/21, during Seastones "Jerry and Bobby and Billy joined us; the long jam evolved into Playing in the Band, and Keith came out briefly to play during the singing and then left for the entire jam in Playing in the Band. Keith was just resisting the idea that he would come out and join in. After quite a long time playing some wonderful things, we got back close to the tune, and Jerry turned and said under his voice, 'Where's Keith?' ...We started playing the end of the tune; eight bars into it, Keith slid out to the piano. Jerry and Phil were pretty upset with Keith... [But] we were all playing better than ever together. So Jerry told me to stay where I was and play the rest of the night."

He also says he played through most of the Winterland shows, but some of his tracks were damaged or disappeared after the shows.

By the way, I think the comments are where the action's at on the Deadsources site, since I do a running commentary on many points in the articles.

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Poster: jerlouvis Date: Dec 27, 2012 11:24am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: 1974 Garcia Interview

I've often wondered how Keith felt about Ned sitting in and from your comments about the 9/21 show I'm further in the dark.I also learned Ned is on more stuff from this tour than I thought.His appearance history with the band seems fabled.

You are correct in mentioning the comments section for there is always good information to be had,I have left a few comments and have been meaning to leave a few more.

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Poster: Monte B Cowboy Date: Dec 26, 2012 1:21pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: 1974 Garcia Interview

Re: 10/16... how about the filming of "Jerry's success sucking" at Winterland on October 16, 1974?